Law Firms Have to Do Marketing, Too

But how? Law firms (like all of us) make many mistakes in marketing online. Law Crossing posted an article to help law firms in particular to boost their marketing efforts.

  1. Not using the internet to find clients– we should ALL be using the data we have freely at our fingertips!
  2. Not including practice area and location based keywords in target keyword phrases– if someone gets to your site and can’t figure out where you are and what you do in a matter of seconds, they will leave and go somewhere they can.
  3. Not having a Google Plus business page– the easiest way to increase exposure from searches (the searches are being done on Google, so taking advantage of Google SEO opportunities should be self-explanatory).
  4. Not engaging an audience on social media– build engagement with potential clients– a great way to set yourself apart when there are so many options.
  5. Blogging on the wrong topics– give your target audience relevant material, don’t just bombard them with irrelevant content.
  6. Not targeting synonyms and related keyword phrases– use both attorney AND lawyer, singular and plural!
  7. Not creating an AVVO profile– this is a legal directory with high authority in search, great for increasing traffic to your website and linking to specific attorneys.
  8. Not using video in your marketing efforts– they are much more personal than text (and Google owns YouTube, so videos will help your search ranking).

It is not an easy task to have great marketing for a law firm. But, many of these suggestions require a minimal amount of time and can go a long way.


Who in the Denver legal market has raised salaries?

Since the inception of the new $180k salary scale for associates at Cravath, many firms across the U.S. have matched the scale, including a few in Denver. This puts pressure on others in the Denver market to follow suit, and while a few have, it remains to be seen who else will fall in line.

Thus far, Above the Law posted an article which lists the law firms to date who have adapted this salary scale. In Denver, they include:
Hogan Lovells
Morrison & Foerster
Gibson Dunn
Arnold & Porter
Wilmer Hale
Haynes & Boone
Baker Hostetler

We’ll most likely have updates to this list as this quarter comes to an end and into Q3 & Q4!


Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace

Outside of hiring and review processes, negotiations between colleagues and bosses still exist, just informally. It is important to be able to advocate for yourself without being deemed as someone who is not a team player. The Harvard Business Review outlines a strategy that you can use to deal with these everyday negotiations. The structure they suggest is to:
recognize, prepare, initiate, and navigate.

  1. Recognize. Negotiation opportunities are not always obvious, but some situations call for it. You also must be careful to pick your battles, though. The decision to recognize when or when not to negotiate should be made with a sense of what end game is in mind.
  2. Prepare. Even with informal negotiations, being prepared is crucial. The more you know about what others have asked for and been granted at work, the more comfortable you’ll feel crafting your own negotiation. Position yourself in a way that highlights your interdependence, and how your work enables your colleague and others to succeed. Make sure you prepare some alternate solutions to be able to present.
  3. Initiate. Be able to shift a normal interaction into a collaborative negotiation without coming across as combative. Make your value visible and try to bring it up organically and be clear.
  4. Navigate. Go into the conversation with an open mind. Be willing to develop a plan that can work for everyone. Use ‘what if’ and circular questions, and mention if-then scenarios. These ensure that the conversation is collaborative, rather than adversarial.

Everyday negotiations tend to pull us out of our comfort zones, but are entirely worth the effort for both the individual and the organization.


How Can Law Firms Keep Top Talent from Slipping Away

One thing is for sure: the war for legal talent will continue unremitting into the foreseeable future. A Law360 article discusses how law firms can prevent their top talent from jumping to another one, and conducted a survey that determined that attorneys are more likely to stay put if their law firm has advancement opportunities than if they are being paid a generous sum but feeling stagnant in their current position.

It’s always important to focus on the long-term. Even if a firm is trying to save money by delaying promotions, based on the findings of this survey, it would be a wise investment to cater to the 89% of attorneys who reported that they were both “very dissatisfied” with their firm’s opportunities for advancement and that they were “very likely” or “likely” to look for a new job within the next year. Firms can do this by placing a bigger emphasis on communicating with their employees the timeline and requirements necessary before promotions are considered.

Source: Law360

The Elephant in the Room: Discussing Compensation in the Interview Process

In the hiring and interviewing processes, compensation is more often than not a touchy subject, and can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker for the talent the company wants. Timing is essential in job interviews, especially regarding the discussion of salary. It is important to recognize the when it is most conducive to broach these matters for both candidates and employers, and to attempt to find that sweet spot.

One of the benefits to working with a recruiter is that he or she will likely be the one doing the dirty work and negotiating salary. However, both sides should still know how to address the issue if it comes up. According to an article on Business Insider, an IT recruiter,Dan Martineau, notes that “the best employers don’t focus on money until the very end, and the same goes for candidates”. For the candidate, it is much more appropriate to discuss salary once the company has expressed a sense of commitment. In the first meeting, the candidate should be focused mostly on selling his/her skills to the employer, and deflect the compensation issue until later on.

On the employer side, although it may feel like a cruel game to candidates, it is important for them to hold their cards closer to their vest– compensation is traditionally not disclosed until the offer. This is because everyone assumes that they are on the top of the pay scale, and if a job is advertised at a range at which the company offers a lower amount on that range, the candidate would be unhappy even if he or she would have been happy with that amount having never known the range in the first place.

Being aware of the etiquette around compensation discussion is key in the interview process, and mastering the art of timing is everything.


Firms Must Be Integrated for Mergers to Be Successful

Many mergers fail  because there were red flag issues evident beforehand which firms either ignored or failed to resolve. However, even when this is not the case, some mergers still fail. This can be because management did not address the integration of the firms after the official merger. There are several things that management should do to ensure that a merger is successful.

a. Give priority to human due diligence: People issues are often at the root of failed mergers. Prevent a “we” and “they” attitude by…

b. Communication: More communication is needed after the merger than before. There are several ways to maintain communication, including: 1) having the Managing Partner/ CEO be visible and available, 2) publish frequent newsletters on what is going on, and what will happen going forward, 3) update a directory of all personnel, 4) draft a temporary Procedures Guide and distribute to everyone

c. Hold a partners’ retreat, a retreat for key administrative personnel, and all lawyers.

d. Make sure major clients and key clients see the benefits of the merger.

e. Establish criteria to measure teh success of the merger, and track them.

Successfully integrating firms after a merger requires considerable extra work and can take as long as two years. But the only alternative– a merger that fails– is not acceptable.


Going from Law Firm to In-House

The move from private practice to in-house demands different skills such as the ability to influence and an understanding of business.

Global Legal Post draws from research conducted by the Association of New Zealand, which found that transitioning from a firm to an in-house legal team is not an easy task. 62 percent of respondents said that it took at least a year to get to grips with the change.

The survey also found that “the most important skill necessary for the move is “influencing skills” – with 99 percent of in-house lawyers surveyed agreeing that it was an essential skill for GCs. In descending order of importance this was followed by strategic thinking and the ability yo translate the complex into simple communications”.

A broad business understanding and specific legal knowledge related to the organization’s operations, and the industry in general were rated as necessary to the role for general counsel as well.


“The legal profession rethinks its diversity dilemma”

Diversity matters, especially to the major national corporations that have pledged their commitment to advancing diversity within the legal profession.

The law lags far behind other professions in racial diversity (14.4% minority) time and time again. Around the world, many law firms and departments face similar diversity challenges – few ethnic minority students even apply to work for them, while women lawyers are grossly under-represented at partnership level.

Therefore, law firms are changing techniques so as to bring more diversity and inclusion into the legal world.

Diversity training has proved ineffective, so re-thinking its shortcomings is key. Several lawyers who gathered last week at the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession Symposium in New York, even go as far to contest that business should be taken away from firms that fail to diversify. Not just in terms of race– but women, LGBT, transgender, and disabled. No matter what capacity the change in techniques will be, it is clear that despite all of the time and effort put into talking about diversity, the desired level of progress has not been attained.

The bottom line is that diversity is crucial in both business and the attendant legal profession. To compete successfully, both in-house counsel and outside law firms must work together to seek out well-qualified, diverse candidates to fulfill the goal of diversity in the legal profession.

American Bar Association
National Law Journal

David vs. Goliath: Why Executive Search Firms Win

The Leadership Digest posted a great article about the values of working with a boutique executive search firm.

There are typically two ways to go when hiring an executive search firm: large or boutique. Speaking from experience on both sides, I strongly believe that most client companies get better results by partnering with the right boutique executive search firm, rather than by hiring the mega-firms. It may sound prestigious to use a big name firm, but choosing a recruiter is all about quality, from start to finish. And in our experience, bigger is not always better.

With boutique firms:

The client company is not forced down or handed off to a junior associate that then handles the recruiting assignment. We do it ourselves from sourcing the candidates, screening, evaluating, presenting and shepherding both the candidate and client through an offer.

The client deals directly with the person who knows the candidate.

Boutiques have the flexibility to structure their fees based on agreed-upon milestones, instead of the calendar (when the search is launched, when candidates are approved, when interviews begin, and when the final candidate accepts). Many do not charge any automatic administration fees and never add a surcharge for travel, lodging, or other fees.

Boutiques typically work on fewer projects, devoting a great amount of time and attention to each one. They are also always done by partners of the firm.

Boutiques have a business model that enables them to form a genuine partnership with their clients, and develop an in-depth knowledge of the company. This provides for a better opportunity to understand the needs of their clients and assessing candidates that will be the “right fit”.

The bottom line is, we are service providers. It is important to critically evaluate the quality of service you, as a business, will receive, by determining the recruiting firm’s commitment to provide what you and your company want and need.


Elizabeth Dahill: A Person on the Move

CEO Elizabeth Dahill has been featured in this week’s Denver Business Journal People on the Move. This feature is in recognition of the MPD Partners team’s dedication and hard work in the mission to successfully establish their new legal recruiting firm, MPD Partners, LLC, which is parent company and complement to The Dahill Group, a growing oil & gas recruiting firm.